Martinsburg man sentenced on gun charges
As a convicted felon, Miller was forbidden to have firearms
HOLLIDAYSBURG — A Martinsburg man convicted in August on four counts of illegal possession of a firearm will spend four to eight years in jail.
Harry Emerson Miller, 41, who was forbidden to have firearms because of a 13-year-old felony, asked Blair County Judge Elizabeth Doyle on Thursday for mercy and a probationary sentence.
“I’ve worked so hard to improve myself … to get where I am today,” Miller told Doyle. “I beg you for mercy. … I won’t let you down.”
State sentencing guidelines, the judge said, require at least one year incarceration based on Miller’s prior record. They also show four to five years of incarceration as the standard range for the firearm violation.
Seated at a table beside defense attorney Robert Donaldson, Miller put his head on his hand upon hearing the judge render the sentence.
Doyle had the option of imposing more jail time but said she was influenced by the courtroom presentations before sentencing, Miller’s work history, his faith-based activity and his age.
District Attorney Richard Consiglio, who pledged to seek a significant jail sentence, said he was satisfied with the judge’s decision.
“This guy remains a very dangerous person in our community,” Consiglio said.
When Donaldson asked that Miller remain out of jail pending appeal, Doyle said no.
Donaldson also asked for a two-week delay for Miller’s entry to prison, drawing an objection from Consiglio. Doyle set the reporting time for 5 p.m. today.
Martinsburg police charged Miller in late March 2016 with illegal possession of firearms after learning that he was a convicted felon and after executing a search warrant at Miller’s 308 E. Allegheny St., Martinsburg, residence where police seized four guns registered to Miller’s wife.
Despite the registration, Consiglio told the jury that it was Miller who had possession of the weapons, a violation of the law based on his felony. In 2004, Miller pleaded guilty to possession with intent to deliver 652 grams of marijuana.
During the trial, Consiglio presented the jury with Facebook postings showing Miller holding a Sig Sauer
9 mm pistol, a reference Miller made to sleeping next to a .308-caliber Remington rifle and a picture of an AR-15 machine gun beside a living room window.
When the guns were seized, two contained bullets, Consiglio told Doyle on Thursday.
“Those guns are my guns … and yeah, they were loaded,” Miller’s wife, Angel, later told the judge.
At the time of the search warrant, Angel Miller said she was fearful that Martin Fisher Jr. was coming to their house because Fisher had called and made threats.
“I have a right to defend myself,” Angel Miller said.
Fisher, who testified during the trial, said he temporarily lived with the Millers and had guns at their house. Police also filed an illegal firearms possession charge against Fisher, but the 37-year-old man, who was incarcerated in Cambria County, died in September from a pulmonary embolism blood clot, a coroner ruled.
Donaldson, during the trial and again on Thursday, also insisted that the pursuit of Miller’s gun violations were rooted in Miller’s management of a Facebook page that purports to expose local political corruption.
“My belief is that they brought these charges for a reason that goes beyond the elements of the crime,” Donaldson said after the sentence was imposed.
Consiglio, who has been and remains critical of Miller’s postings on his page, including ones that have named alleged confidential informants, said that’s not the case
“After these charges were filed, that’s when I learned about his corruption page,” Consiglio said.
Miller has also been critical of Consiglio on his corruption page.
“I was targeted,” Miller said.
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.